Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review: Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Here is the description from

Oct. 11th, 1943—A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it's barely begun.

When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she's sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.

As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage and failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?

Harrowing and beautifully written, Elizabeth Wein creates a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other. Code Name Verity is an outstanding novel that will stick with you long after the last page.

Yeah, it stuck with me all right.  I'm not doing a "what I liked, didn't like" thing here because the things I like and didn't like are kind of the same.

The first part of the book is from one of the girl's POV's, the second is from the other girl's POV.  The first part starts off slow, with the first girl writing down how she met the second girl, how they ended up in that plane, how it crashed.  It kind of rambles and I had to force myself to read it, dreading the ending even as I continued on.  I kind of wondered what all the hullaballoo about this book was.  Maybe it was all the historical detail?  I kind of felt like the author was trying to give me a history lesson, sugar-coating it as a YA novel.

Then I got to the second part, the story through the second girl's POV.  This also rambles on as she describes her situation after crashing.  Again, I'm wondering what the heck is so good about this book?
It isn't until the last quarter of book, when we see how the first part and the second part are tied together that the lightbulb came on.

This book is brilliant!  Without giving anything away, I felt smarter for reading it.  I also had to go back and read the first part again.

But I did have to force myself to read through 3/4th of the book before I saw the payoff and I don't know that I would have if so many people hadn't told me how good it is.

I'm giving this four out of five stars, which is "I liked it but not sure you will".

1 comment:

  1. Mmmm the joy of a well laid clue!!
    yes of course, when recommending this book, didn't really think about the fact that not everyone likes historical fiction. :)
    But it is so worth it, isn't it? And I love the fact that it made you feel smarter!
    So glad that you endured it. maybe the book is one of endurance on various levels then..?